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Truth Offends People Often Times That Need to Be Offended in Order to Redeem Them out of This Filthy Society

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Almost two thousand years ago, Truth was put on trial and judged by people who were devoted to lies. In fact, Truth faced six trials in less than one full day, three of which were religious, and three that were legal. In the end, few people involved in those events could answer the question, “What is the truth?”

After being arrested, the Truth was first led to a man named Annas, a corrupt former high priest of the Jews. Annas broke numerous Jewish laws during the trial, including holding the trial in his house, trying to induce self-accusations against the defendant, and striking the defendant, who had been convicted of nothing at the time. After Annas, the Truth was led to the reigning high priest, Caiaphas, who happened to be Annas’s son-in-law. Before Caiaphas and the Jewish Sanhedrin, many false witnesses came forward to speak against the Truth, yet nothing could be proved and no evidence of wrongdoing could be found. Caiaphas broke no fewer than seven laws while trying to convict the Truth: (1) the trial was held in secret; (2) it was carried out at night; (3) it involved bribery; (4) the defendant had no one present to make a defense for Him; (5) the requirement of 2-3 witnesses could not be met; (6) they used self-incriminating testimony against the defendant; (7) they carried out the death penalty against the defendant the same day. All these actions were prohibited by Jewish law. Regardless, Caiaphas declared the Truth guilty because the Truth claimed to be God in the flesh, something Caiaphas called blasphemy. 

When morning came, the third trial of the Truth took place, with the result that the Jewish Sanhedrin pronounced the Truth should die. However, the Jewish council had no legal right to carry out the death penalty, so they were forced to bring the Truth to the Roman governor at the time, a man named Pontius Pilate. Pilate was appointed by Tiberius as the fifth prefect of Judea and served in that capacity A.D. 26 to 36. The procurator had the power of life and death and could reverse capital sentences passed by the Sanhedrin. As the Truth stood before Pilate, more lies were brought against Him. His enemies said, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King” (Luke 23:2). This was a lie, as the Truth had told everyone to pay their taxes (Matthew 22:21) and never spoke of Himself as a challenge to Caesar. 

After this, a very interesting conversation between the Truth and Pilate took place. “Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?’ Pilate answered, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have you done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.’ Therefore Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this, I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘What is the truth?’” (John 18:33–38). 

Pilate’s question, “What is the truth?” has reverberated down through history. Was it a melancholy desire to know what no one else could tell him, a cynical insult, or perhaps an irritated, indifferent reply to Jesus’ words? 

In a postmodern world that denies that truth can be known, the question is more important than ever to answer. What is the truth?

Source

A Proposed Definition of Truth

In defining truth, it is first helpful to note what truth is not: 

   • Truth is not simply whatever works. This is the philosophy of pragmatism – an ends-vs.-means-type approach. In reality, lies can appear to “work,” but they are still lies and not the truth. 
   • Truth is not simply what is coherent or understandable. A group of people can get together and form a conspiracy based on a set of falsehoods where they all agree to tell the same false story, but it does not make their presentation true. 
   • Truth is not what makes people feel good. Unfortunately, bad news can be true. 
   • Truth is not what the majority says is true. Fifty-one percent of a group can reach a wrong conclusion. 
   • Truth is not what is comprehensive. A lengthy, detailed presentation can still result in a false conclusion. 
   • Truth is not defined by what is intended. Good intentions can still be wrong. 
   • Truth is not how we know; the truth is what we know. 
   • Truth is not simply what is believed. A lie believed is still a lie. 
   • Truth is not what is publicly proved. Truth can be privately known (for example, the location of buried treasure).

The Greek word for “truth” is aletheia, which literally means to “un-hide” or “hiding nothing.” It conveys the thought that truth is always there, always open and available for all to see, with nothing being hidden or obscured. The Hebrew word for “truth” is emeth, which means “firmness,” “constancy” and “duration.” Such a definition implies an everlasting substance and something that can be relied upon.

From a philosophical perspective, there are three simple ways to define truth:

   1. Truth is that which corresponds to reality.
   2. Truth is that which matches its object.
   3. Truth is simply telling it like it is.

First, truth corresponds to reality or “what is.” It is real. Truth is also a correspondent in nature. In other words, it matches its object and is known by its referent. For example, a teacher facing a class may say, “Now the only exit to this room is on the right.” For the class that may be facing the teacher, the exit door may be on their left, but it’s absolutely true that the door, for the professor, is on the right. 

Truth also matches its object. It may be absolutely true that a certain person may need so many milligrams of a certain medication, but another person may need more or less of the same medication to produce the desired effect. This is not relative truth, but just an example of how truth must match its object. It would be wrong (and potentially dangerous) for a patient to request that their doctor give them an inappropriate amount of a particular medication, or to say that any medicine for their specific ailment will do. 

In short, truth is simply telling it like it is; it is the way things really are, and any other viewpoint is wrong. A foundational principle of philosophy is being able to discern between truth and error, or as Thomas Aquinas observed, “It is the task of the philosopher to make distinctions.”

Challenges to Truth

Aquinas’ words are not very popular today. Making distinctions seems to be out of fashion in a postmodern era of relativism. It is acceptable today to say, “This is true,” as long as it is not followed by, “and therefore that is false.” This is especially observable in matters of faith and religion where every belief system is supposed to be on equal footing where truth is concerned. 

There are a number of philosophies and worldviews that challenge the concept of truth, yet, when each is critically examined it turns out to be self-defeating in nature.

The philosophy of relativism says that all truth is relative and that there is no such thing as absolute truth. But one has to ask: is the claim “all truth is relative” a relative truth or an absolute truth? If it is a relative truth, then it really is meaningless; how do we know when and where it applies? If it is an absolute truth, then absolute truth exists. Moreover, the relativist betrays his own position when he states that the position of the absolutist is wrong – why can’t those who say absolute truth exists be correct too? In essence, when the relativist says, “There is no truth,” he is asking you not to believe him, and the best thing to do is follow his advice. 

Those who follow the philosophy of skepticism simply doubt all truth. But is the skeptic skeptical of skepticism; does he doubt his own truth claim? If so, then why pay attention to skepticism? If not, then we can be sure of at least one thing (in other words, absolute truth exists)—skepticism, which, ironically, becomes absolute truth in that case. The agnostic says you can’t know the truth. Yet the mindset is self-defeating because it claims to know at least one truth: that you can’t know the truth. 

The disciples of postmodernism simply affirm no particular truth. The patron saint of postmodernism—Frederick Nietzsche—described truth like this: “What then is the truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms … truths are illusions … coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.” Ironically, although the postmodernist holds coins in his hand that is now “mere metal,” he affirms at least one absolute truth: the truth that no truth should be affirmed. Like the other worldviews, postmodernism is self-defeating and cannot stand up under its own claim. 

A popular worldview is a pluralism, which says that all truth claims are equally valid. Of course, this is impossible. Can two claims – one that says a woman is now pregnant and another that says she is not now pregnant – both be true at the same time? Pluralism unravels at the feet of the law of non-contradiction, which says that something cannot be both “A” and “Non-A” at the same time and in the same sense. As one philosopher quipped, anyone who believes that the law of non-contradiction is not true (and, by default, pluralism is true) should be beaten and burned until they admit that to be beaten and burned is not the same thing as to not be beaten and burned. Also, note that pluralism says that it is true and anything opposed to it is false, which is a claim that denies its own foundational tenet. 

The spirit behind pluralism is an open-armed attitude of tolerance. However, pluralism confuses the idea of everyone having equal value with every truth claim being equally valid. More simply, all people may be equal, but not all truth claims are. Pluralism fails to understand the difference between opinion and truth, a distinction Mortimer Adler notes: “Pluralism is desirable and tolerable only in those areas that are matters of taste rather than matters of truth.” 

The Offensive Nature of Truth

When the concept of truth is maligned, it usually for one or more of the following reasons: 

One common complaint against anyone claiming to have absolute truth in matters of faith and religion is that such a stance is “narrow-minded.” However, the critic fails to understand that, by nature, truth is narrow. Is a math teacher narrow-minded for holding to the belief that 2 + 2 only equals 4? 

Another objection to truth is that it is arrogant to claim that someone is right and another person is wrong. However, returning to the above example with mathematics, is it arrogant for a math teacher to insist on only one right answer to an arithmetic problem? Or is it arrogant for a locksmith to state that only one key will open a locked door? 

The third charge against those holding to absolute truth in matters of faith and religion is that such a position excludes people, rather than being inclusive. But such a complaint fails to understand that truth, by nature, excludes its opposite. All answers other than 4 are excluded from the reality of what 2 + 2 truly equals. 

Yet another protest against truth is that it is offensive and divisive to claim one has the truth. Instead, the critic argues, all that matters is sincerity. The problem with this position is that truth is immune to sincerity, belief, and desire. It doesn’t matter how much one sincerely believes a wrong key will fit a door; the key still won’t go in and the lock won’t be opened. Truth is also unaffected by sincerity. Someone who picks up a bottle of poison and sincerely believes it is lemonade will still suffer the unfortunate effects of the poison. Finally, truth is impervious to desire. A person may strongly desire that their car has not run out of gas, but if the gauge says the tank is empty and the car will not run any farther, then no desire in the world will miraculously cause the car to keep going.

Some will admit that absolute truth exists, but then claim such a stance is only valid in the area of science and not in matters of faith and religion. This is a philosophy called logical positivism, which was popularized by philosophers such as David Hume and A. J. Ayer. In essence, such people state that truth claims must either be (1) tautologies (for example, all bachelors are unmarried men) or (2) empirically verifiable (that is, testable via science). To the logical positivist, all talk about God is nonsense. 

Those who hold to the notion that only science can make truth claims fail to recognize is that there are many realms of truth where science is impotent. For example: 

   • Science cannot prove the disciplines of mathematics and logic because it presupposes them.
   • Science cannot prove metaphysical truths such as minds other than my own do exist.
   • Science is unable to provide truth in the areas of morals and ethics. You cannot use science, for example, to prove the Nazis were evil.
   • Science is incapable of stating truths about aesthetic positions such as the beauty of a sunrise.
   • Lastly, when anyone makes the statement “science is the only source of objective truth,” they have just made a philosophical claim—which cannot be tested by science. 

And there are those who say that absolute truth does not apply in the area of morality. Yet the response to the question, “Is it moral to torture and murder an innocent child?” is absolute and universal: No. Or, to make it more personal, those who espouse relative truth concerning morals always seem to want their spouse to be absolutely faithful to them.

Why Truth is Important

Why is it so important to understand and embrace the concept of absolute truth in all areas of life (including faith and religion)? Simply because life has consequences for being wrong. Giving someone the wrong amount of a medication can kill them; having an investment manager make the wrong monetary decisions can impoverish a family; boarding the wrong plane will take you where you do not wish to go; and dealing with an unfaithful marriage partner can result in the destruction of a family and, potentially, disease. 

As Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias puts it, “The fact is, the truth matters – especially when you’re on the receiving end of a lie.” And nowhere is this more important than in the area of faith and religion. Eternity is an awfully long time to be wrong. 

God and Truth

During the six trials of Jesus, the contrast between the truth (righteousness) and lies (unrighteousness) was unmistakable. There stood Jesus, the Truth, being judged by those whose every action was bathed in lies. The Jewish leaders broke nearly every law designed to protect a defendant from wrongful conviction. They fervently worked to find any testimony that would incriminate Jesus, and in their frustration, they turned to false evidence brought forward by liars. But even that could not help them reach their goal. So they broke another law and forced Jesus to implicate Himself. 

Once in front of Pilate, the Jewish leaders lied again. They convicted Jesus of blasphemy, but since they knew that wouldn’t be enough to coax Pilate to kill Jesus, they claimed Jesus was challenging Caesar and was breaking Roman law by encouraging the crowds to not pay taxes. Pilate quickly detected their superficial deception, and he never even addressed the charge. 

Jesus the Righteous was being judged by the unrighteous. The sad fact is that the latter always persecutes the former. It’s why Cain killed Abel. The link between truth and righteousness and between falsehood and unrighteousness is demonstrated by a number of examples in the New Testament: 

   • For this reason, God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11–12, emphasis added). 

   • “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18, emphasis added). 

   • “who will render to each person according to his deeds; to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation” (Romans 2:6–8, emphasis added).    • “[love] does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:5–6, emphasis added).

What is the truth? – Conclusion

The question Pontius Pilate asked centuries ago needs to be rephrased in order to be completely accurate. The Roman governor’s remark “What is the truth?” overlooks the fact that many things can have the truth, but only one thing can actually be the Truth. Truth must originate from somewhere.

The stark reality is that Pilate was looking directly at the Origin of all Truth on that early morning almost two thousand years ago. Not long before being arrested and brought to the governor, Jesus had made the simple statement “I am the truth” (John 14:6), which was a rather incredible statement. How could a mere man be the truth? He couldn’t be unless He was more than a man, which is actually what He claimed to be. The fact is, Jesus’ claim was validated when He rose from the dead (Romans 1:4). 

There is a false belief held by some Christians, sort of a Christian myth, that if you are a good Christian you will not offend anyone. In fact, a Christian who offends people is sometimes considered to be just one more arrogant, insensitive, narrow-minded Christian, because it is thought that “true” Christians are sensitive and considerate, and never offend anyone.

To be sure, there are Christians who offend others by their tone of voice, overbearing manner, or my insistence on things that could be called “dogma” rather than truth. This article is not intended to excuse prideful Christian behavior, attitudes, or hardheartedness. History shows that there have been and still are many Christians who do not act very Christ-like. Much could be said about the great need for Christians to walk in love, have good character and demonstrate the fruit of the spirit.

While a lot could be written about walking in love, this article examines a different reason why people are offended by Christian activities. This article asks the question, “Why are some people offended by the truth, even if it is spoken or acted out in love?” All we have to do is look at the life of Jesus Christ to realize there are plenty of people who are offended by truth even when it is lovingly presented. There are several reasons that truth is often offensive to some people.

Truth is Exclusive and Absolute

Some people are offended by the truth because of its very nature— it is exclusive and it is absolute, not relative. The absolute nature of truth means that it does not depend on, nor is it changed by, people’s opinions. For example, if someone says, “There is no God,” that does not affect the existence of God.  Truth is also exclusive, meaning that it is “narrow” because it excludes anything contrary to it. Unfortunately, in the spiritual world, some people view the narrow nature of truth as “narrow mindedness.” We all recognize the narrowness of truth when it comes to the physical world. People do not put water in their gas tanks or jump from tall buildings if the elevator is full. We train our children to do what is “right” (like looking both ways before crossing a street), and not to do what is “wrong” (like running with a knife) so they will live safely in our “narrow-minded” world.

Both the physical world and the spiritual world are expressions of truth and that is why they are exclusive, or narrow in nature. The Bible itself confirms that the spiritual world is very narrow, which is why God has specific commandments about what is “right” and what is “wrong.” Moreover, God expects us to learn about the spiritual world from the physical world, just as we learn about it from His Word.

Romans 1:20
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

The Bible teaches that God’s power and His nature can be understood from the world around us. Nevertheless, many people deny spiritual truth, which is easy because doing things the wrong way spiritually usually has very delayed consequences. If we put water in our gas tanks, right away the car does not start. If a person denies Jesus Christ and tries to save himself by his own works, it will not be until the Day of Judgment that he will learn that Scripture was correct when it said, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). At the resurrection and Day of Judgment, the things of God will be clearly seen by everyone, but then it will be too late for the people who reject the truth now. It is because the truth is exclusive and absolute that it is essential for each of us to work hard to discover what is and what is not true. There are great blessings for obeying the truth, and serious consequences for denying it.

The Devil’s War Against God and Truth

Another reason people are offended by the truth is that the Devil has waged a war against God and truth for thousands of years. He fights this war on many fronts, and his primary weapon is lies. The Devil has been inculcating lies into the human psyche and society for so long that there are lies deeply embedded in every society on earth. The Devil resists truth everywhere, because, as Scripture says, “…for there is no truth in him…he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). The Devil and his demons work hard to deceive people and lead them away from God.

The Devil is very crafty and adapts his methods to the culture he is trying to deceive. For example, in Western culture today, we are very scientifically minded, and there are many instruments for measuring and tracking what happens around us, so the Devil does not often come out in the open. However, in ancient cultures, and in some cultures today, that is not the case. For example, the Devil wants to continue to promote the lie that dead people are not really dead, but alive as some kind of spirit beings. Thus, one of his common lying signs is to make dead people seem alive, and he does this in various ways, from giving information via mediums in séances, to “haunting” houses, to full demonic apparitions that resemble dead people. Many people, seeing this “evidence,” are turned from the clear biblical truth that the dead are dead until the Rapture or resurrection, to believing the Devil’s lying sign as actually true.

A major tactic of the Devil is to create a cultural climate in which there is a lot of disagreement over truths espoused by the Bible. That way, anyone who claims to have the truth is considered ignorant or arrogant and is thus easily dismissed.

The Fallen Nature of Mankind

Another reason truth is often offensive to those who do not adhere to it is because people are selfish. We are flesh creatures who have a sin nature and live in a fallen world, and our flesh and sin nature combine to make us inherently selfish and self-centered. That is why we so often give in to temptation and do things that we know are not good for us, and it is also why it can seem so hard to do what is “right” all the time. Because we are self-centered, we can become offended by the truth. We want to do things “our way,” but the exclusive nature of truth means we have to do them “the right way.” God calls our selfishness and the things we do from a selfish motivation “evil,” and shows it is a reason why people do not come to Him but are offended by the truth.

John 3:19-21
(19) This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
(20) Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
(21) But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

It goes against our selfish nature to always do things God’s way, but God is love and everything He asks us to do is in our best interest.

Truth Will Always Offend Some People

The combination of the absolute nature of truth, the Devil’s lies, and the fallen state of mankind combine to result in truth always being offensive to at least some people. For example, why is lying, cheating, and stealing so widespread? It is because people would rather get what they want than be self-sacrificing and truthful. There is an example that shows that people would rather get what they want than act selflessly and walk in love in the gospel of John. Jesus was trying to teach the people that he, not manna, was the real bread that came down from heaven and that if they would eat his flesh and drink his blood (both idioms for involvement and commitment), they would have everlasting life (John 6:53 and 54). [1] This seems like a very fundamental truth, and it was spoken from Jesus’ sincere and loving heart to see people live forever. Jesus was asking people to turn from their self-centered lives and follow his ways so they could live forever. How did people respond? Scripture records what they said and did. They said, “…This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” (John 6:60). What did they do? They left, as John 6:66 records: “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”

When Jesus asked the people around him, including his disciples, to turn from selfishness to truth, many of them simply walked away from him. Do we honestly think it will be any different for us? But if we know that many unbelievers will be offended when we tell them they have to come to Jesus to be saved, should we just ignore the subject of salvation altogether? After all, there are so many other things to talk about; do we have to talk about God, Jesus, or everlasting life?

Why Do We Speak About Jesus?

In order to honestly answer the question about whether we have to speak to unbelievers about salvation and obeying God, we have to become clear on why Jesus, the Apostles, and so many other dedicated Christians have spoken to others about those things. God is real, even if people do not believe it; the Bible is true, even if people do not believe it; and the Day of Judgment is coming, even if people do not believe it. It is an act of love to tell people about blessings they could have now and in the future and to warn people about a potential disaster they are unaware of. What we need to realize is that not everyone we speak to will “feel the love.”

As Christians, we must face the fact that there is no way to present the truth about Jesus Christ and salvation to people without some of them being offended. Once we realize that, we have a decision to make: do we present the truth even though some will be offended?

The Stumbling Stone

While we are pondering when and how to present the spiritual truths of the Word of God to others, it helps to remember that God knew how people would respond to His loving advances. God knows the absolute nature of His truth, and that most people would reject it, and reject His Son. That is why God refers to Jesus as “…A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”

1 Peter 2:6-8a (ESV) [2]
(6) For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
(7) So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
(8a) and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”

It is a profound truth that it is God who calls His Son “a stone of stumbling and rock of offense.” God Himself, who loves people much more than we could imagine, could not think of a better way to present His love, His Son, and His truth, that would not offend many of the self-centered men and women of the earth. Therefore it is safe to assume that neither you nor I am going to come up with a way to present Jesus Christ as God’s plan of salvation without offending some of them. And how will they react? Many will just think we are arrogant and narrow-minded, and shun us, and others will aggressively try to curtail our Christian activities. That is what has happened to evangelically-minded Christians through the centuries—they have been restricted or forbidden to meet, to own Bibles, to preach, to witness to others, and often they have been persecuted to the extent of imprisonment, torture, and death.

Evangelism and Persecution

Just as the Bible says that unbelievers will be offended at Christ, it says that those who live godly lives, which includes lovingly reaching out to others with the truth about Christ and salvation, will be persecuted.

2 Timothy 3:12
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

This statement in 2 Timothy 3:12 is not a profound act of foretelling on Paul’s part, but rather an honest evaluation of what happens when the absolute truth of God meets the self-centered hearts of fallen man. Just as a thief is angry when he is caught and strikes back if he can, many unsaved people are angry when they are presented with the truth that they must come to Jesus to be saved, and they strike back, doing things like making evangelism illegal and persecuting Christians who speak and live the truth. [3]

There are Christians who try to make Christ acceptable by not mentioning him but only doing good deeds. They say, “I let my good works do my witnessing.” However, if we are honest about the subject, we can see that there are a number of problems with this approach. First, it is not really effective. There are not large numbers of people filling church pews who are there simply because they saw someone else doing good works or living a good life. No one can be saved until they make Christ Lord and believe God raised him from the dead (Rom. 10:9), and no one knows to do that unless someone else tells them. That is why there are so many commands in Scripture about speaking the Gospel to others. At some point, someone must actually speak the Word to those who do not believe.

Secondly, doing good deeds is a common tenet not only of religion but of service organizations. For example, the slogan of the Boy Scouts is “Do a good turn [deed] daily.” Therefore, a Christian doing good deeds does not necessarily point an onlooker to salvation through Jesus Christ nor to the fatal consequences of rejecting him. Thirdly, why would we not speak about Jesus Christ, salvation, and everlasting life? We speak to others about what is important to us, such as things we enjoy, things that have happened to us that are noteworthy, and people who mean a lot to us, such as our children. What does it say about us, when we will not speak to others about Jesus Christ and salvation? There can only be two answers: either Jesus and salvation do not mean that much to us, or we are concerned or afraid of how the other person will respond.

We have to be very honest with ourselves when we consider why we are not mentioning Jesus and salvation to the unsaved people we know. If the voice in our head says, “I do not want to offend them,” or “I do not what to ‘turn them off,’” we need, to be honest about the emphasis we are putting on the word, “I.” Is the real reason we are not speaking about Christ a matter of protecting ourselves from being shunned, called “narrow-minded,” or being otherwise persecuted? It is often not the “I” that offends people, but the “stumbling stone,” Jesus Christ. People enjoy being lord of their life and do not want to have another lord. It is loving, in fact, the pinnacle of love, to offer everlasting life to someone who is not saved. Similarly, it will be a time of great despair to be present at the Judgment and see someone get thrown into the flames if we had the chance to tell that person about Jesus but failed to do so.

Jesus Christ was loving, selfless, and giving in every way, and yet people rejected him. Jesus never told us we could get better results than he did. Instead, Jesus armed us with the truth by telling us how it would be when we ventured into the world to try to turn it from its selfish ways and offer it everlasting life.

Matthew 10:16-40 (NIV abridged)
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore…Be on your guard against men…All men will hate you because of me…When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another…A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master…If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household! So do not be afraid of them…Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul…Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.

It is never our desire to offend anyone, but we must realize that truth, even if it is presented in love, will offend some people. We each have the choice to either love people enough to offer them everlasting life, knowing that we might offend them, or we can choose to simply be quiet and not risk offending anyone. Let’s make the same choice Jesus did and tell people about Jesus and everlasting life, knowing we will live forever with some of them because of our efforts.

“The truth will set you free” is a common saying in academic circles that want to promote academic freedom and the power of learning. Many universities have this statement emblazoned on a sign near the entrance of a building. But “the truth will set you free” did not originate in academia; Jesus said it in John 8:32. In context, Jesus’ statement has nothing to do with classroom learning. In fact, John 8:32speaks of a higher form of knowledge that is capable of being learned in a classroom.

Jesus had just finished a speech at the temple where He delineated differences between Himself and His listeners. “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:23–24). The result of Jesus’ message was that “even as he spoke, many believed in him” (verse 30). Then, in verse 31, Jesus begins to speak just to those who had believed.

“Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples’” (John 8:31). True discipleship is more than intellectual assent; those who are “really” followers of Christ will “hold to” His Word. That means they will not only accept His teachings as truth, but they will also obey His teachings. Action is proof of faith (cf. James 2:17).

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StevieRay Hansen

In his riveting memoir, "A Long Journey Home", StevieRay Hansen will lead you through his incredible journey from homeless kid to multimillionaire oilman willing to give a helping hand to other throwaway kids. Available on Amazon.

5 Comments

  1. Fiona Groenewald on April 20, 2019 at 5:13 am

    Excellent!

    • Joe Bruiners on April 20, 2019 at 12:54 pm

      Absolutely excellent.

  2. Hennie Groenewald on April 20, 2019 at 5:32 am

    Excellent. The truth about the truth.

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A Long Journey Home Book Cover

A Long Journey Home

A book about a fourteen-year-old boy, the son of a Baptist pastor, thrown from his home at age 14. This boy, StevieRay, would later become a multimillionaire. Now he gives orphans a second chance at life.

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